Most child victims suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know and trust.

How To Protect Your Child

Did you know that most child victims suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know and trust? Someone that YOU know and trust? We teach our kids not to talk to strangers…but how do we teach them to be safe around the people that they trust – and that we trust. The first step to preventing abuse against our children is awareness and education. As more parents, professionals and community members learn about the realities of child abuse, the effort to combat this serious problem gains strength.

Talk to your child

  • Teach your children that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you about any touch that makes them feel uncomfortable
  • Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.

Protect Your Child on the Internet.

  • Learn about the websites your children use regularly. Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. See what other kids are doing there and how much information you can learn by doing simple searches. Parents need to be aware of what is happening on-line.
  • Learn as much as you can about the issues of Internet Safety (look under our Tools & Resources section for websites to help with this).
  • Keep computers in common rooms of the house. Many children have laptops and computers in their bedrooms, allowing them many opportunities to spend hours on-line, potentially engaging in inappropriate behavior.
  • Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on. Teach young children that they should not seek our relationships from on-line friends and that they should NEVER meet on-line friends in the real world.
  • Make any topic of conversation an acceptable topic of conversation. Many teens and pre-teens seek out adult relationships on-line. Ensure that your child has a support system in the real world.

Familiarize yourself with the policies and practices of organizations where your children spend time.

  • Confirm background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers.
  • Ensure policies are in place that prohibit situations where an adult can be alone with your child in one room when no one else is around.
  • Make sure they actually follow these policies – ask your child, stop by, check in, be aware.

Be vigilant and ASK questions!

  • Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. If your child is reluctant about going to certain places or with certain people, ask questions.
  • Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult.

Pass it on. Educate yourself. Educate your community.

Resources

Get Help

Reporting suspected abuse is the most important step you can take to protecting our children.

f you suspect abuse, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.252.5400 or log on to txabusehotline.org or if the child is in immediate danger CALL 911.

It is important to attempt to gather the following information:

The more information provided, the more effective Child Protective Services (CPS) can be when investigating the case; so provide as much information as you possibly can.

Locating information

  • Address-Home and where child can best be located (school, sitter, etc.)
  • Phone numbers home and work

Identifying information

  • Child’s age or birth date
  • Child’s current condition, including injuries
  • Any emotional, behavioral, or physical problems the child may have
  • Same information about child’s sibling

Call Statewide: 1-800-252-5400

  • This number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • It is not long distance
  • It is located in Austin, where a group of caseworkers answer and take all the child abuse reports for the state. BE PATIENT!

Be specific

  • Tell exactly what happened and when
  • Child’s specific condition and sibling’s, if known
  • Identify the person responsible for abuse/neglect, if known

DO NOT tell the child’s parent or person responsible that you are reporting

This could endanger the child

If the child is in immediate danger, call the police (911)

They can respond immediately and will inform CPS

CPS considers the following factors when determining substantial risk of harm.

  • Extent and severity of the injury
  • Location of the injury on the child’s body
  • The child’s age (the younger the child, the higher the risk)
  • Frequency and duration of the same behavior or similar incidents
  • Previous history of abuse or neglect
  • How the injury occurred or was inflicted